BMW has always had a reputation for proudly releasing seriously functional machines. Its R1200GS and R1200GS Adventure models remain a force to be reckoned with in the adventure motorcycle category while the road focused S1000XR, categorized under Adventure Sports fills in a gap for a nimble, road focused performance machine with the comfort of an adventure motorcycle.
Getting to meet the S1000XR, I couldn’t help but ogle the machine’s lines, neat and clean, making no efforts to conceal its sporty capabilities. The design ethos tells you speed will not be lacking in this machine and rightly so, with the engine off the S1000RR and S1000R models. The LED lamp creates a defining feature, in a sea of ever increasing LED lamps across all manufacturers. See it in the distance and you know what’s coming a mile away.
From the get go, the engine more than lives up to expectations, bringing its lively character into the fray immediately. This machine does not want to go slow and neither did I. It WANTS TO and makes YOU want to go fast. Though it doesn’t complain about going slow, I felt – dare I say it? – DEPRIVED when caught up in slow traffic. I did not get to push it further than 6000-ish rpm at most, Singapore being mostly urban it’s a sure fire way to get the attention of traffic cops and definitely unfavourable outcomes concerning your license. Boo. Excuse me officer, but I blame the machine.
My first destination was a short cluster of twisties, where I was joined by a pack of rozzers training on their F800GS’s. It was quite a sight, being followed by a pack of 10 or so fully decked out cops in their riot vests, red and blue blinkers on, going around the bends. For a litre bike, I found it to be forgiving if you put too much throttle and enter a corner too hot, panic-stab the brakes and ABS -Pro takes over, leaving me thanking my lucky stars – and BMW – for the ability to still sail through the corner with ABS and without any trouble. Another feature I enjoyed about the machine was its handling. The expression “like a hot knife through butter” just doesn’t do justice here. More like a “a hot scalpel through butter”, because this machine moves with scalpel sharp precision. It literally is a point and shoot machine, extremely accurate, while easy to choose and hold lines through corners. The frame feels rigid but light enough that you can flick it around and it will give you exactly what you want. Maximum results from the bike, with minimal input from the rider. It really makes for a terrific equation.
Entering the expressway, I found the shifting accurate, no squishy feeling or clunky changes, but shifts felt accurate and efficient. The quick-shifter required little effort, just enough. The controls are also easily within reach of your thumbs, while the handlebar puts you in a commanding position, inspiring confidence and adding to the feel of the machine. This bike tells you what its tyres are doing, how much grip you have and how much lean you put in, just like the perfect woman who tells you what she wants and doesn’t leave you guessing. These are all communicated to the rider in one seamless bond of feedback and feeling, feeling like a relationship that could really work out from the first date. The windshield only comes in 2 positions, adjustable with 2 hands or 1, it does a good job of keeping the wind from buffeting your head around like a pinball.
In town I found myself taking the machine into some sort of mechanically induced fandango, using the low end torque to responsibly power through traffic (I swear!), I might have made myself a menace, but this machine is slim enough to split lanes at traffic lights and rocket off from stop lights. The engine entertains short shifts surprisingly well and creates a beautiful chorus of pops every time I closed the throttle or made a downshift and I found myself purposely shifting excessively just to make these downshifts.
The bike is delightfully engaging and screams fun all the way through. Surprisingly, with all my spirited riding, egged on by the machine, the fuel consumption never topped 6.5L/100km. Imagine the possible mileage in the absence of traffic stops.
With a stock seat height of 840mm, against my inseam of 32 inches and 78Kg frame, I found that though my heels were off the ground, they were only just and the balls of my feet were very much on the ground which is more than enough for proper support.
All top and side cases also fit my bell RS-1 helmet snugly and in the absence of a helmet I daresay provision of luggage space is sufficient. Otherwise aftermarket luggage options are always available should you prefer. The display is also extremely easy to read, any time of the day.
Priced at $39,392, including COE and Road Tax but not insurance you can arrange for test rides or express interest with the sales department at BMW Motorrad Singapore (63190510)